The Allianz Riviera at a critical stage?

The Allianz Riviera at a critical stage?

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Fifth in Ligue 1 this season, OGC Nice falls into the depths of the rankings when it comes to filling their stands. The Professional Football League has just made its accounts. And the stands of the Allianz Riviera were only 58.35% full, excluding games behind closed doors and at reduced capacity. Or 20,786 spectators on average (out of 35,624 seats) which only offer a 17th place at the Gym. It’s better than in 2018/2019 (53.68%) but still much worse than in other stadiums.

Half full or half empty, it depends, the site in the Var plain has only been full on too few occasions since its inauguration in September 2013. It would be “too far” from the city, decide some supporters. “A bit oversized” for others.

Only two concerts in eight years

The calendar, excluding OGC Nice, is also struggling to fill up. On the sporting level, and in particular that of football, there are four matches of the French team, four of Euro 2016 and six of the Women’s World Cup in 2019. Rugby was also invited with six matches of the RC Toulon between 2013 and 2016, the two semi-finals of the Top 14 last June and the four scheduled meetings of the 2023 World Cup.

But it is on the event level that things get even more complicated. “The Allianz Riviera is likely to receive up to 45,000 spectators for […] large-scale shows”, praised the presentation brochures. In just over eight years, there have only been two. Celine Dion in 2017. Beyoncé and her husband Jay-Z in 2018. Too little?

A backup procedure of 18 months, the maximum

What is certain is that the finances of Nice Eco stadium (NES), the subsidiary of Vinci which manages the Allianz Riviera, are orange. The company, which achieved a turnover of 21 million euros in 2019, its reference year, has been posting negative results for at least four years: -1.78 million in 2018, -1.5 in 2019 and even, Covid obliges, -2.2 in 2020 and -2.18 last year. Enough to trigger a backup procedure on May 6, 2021.

To this day, it is still open, indicates to 20 minutes Me Christophe Thévenot, the judicial administrator appointed to assist the bosses of the arena. It has even “been extended by the Nice commercial court until November 3, 2022”, he explains. This will therefore be 18 months, the maximum for this type of remedy which protects companies in difficulty by suspending the payment of their debts.

Owner of the stadium, the city of Nice says it has “no worries”

Asked about this point, NES kicks into touch. For Patrick Florence, the general manager, the time is rather “celebration” after “the semi-finals of the Top 14, an exceptional event in every respect”, he replies by email. “We are already preparing a most delightful sequel”, he also assures, referring in particular to “the concert of Mylène Farmer on July 29, 2023”. He also explains that he is working on “several other concert options” for next year.

Owner of the Allianz Riviera, built on the basis of a public-private partnership, the city of Nice tells 20 Minutes to have “no worries” about the current situation of his equipment. “The big past events that have made it possible to fill the stadium and the following ones are able to reassure on [son] to become, ”says the town hall.

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